2018 Is the Year of the Bird

Painted Bunting. Photo: Zachary Webster/Audubon Photography Awards


Join the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in a yearlong celebration of birds.

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Help build a better world for birds by taking a simple but meaningful action each month.
Count Me In
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We never need a reason to celebrate birds here at Audubon, but in 2018 we’re making an especially big deal of them. That’s because not only is it the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)—a pivotal piece of legislation that continues to save countless birds’ lives—but birds are also facing many new and serious threats, including attacks on the MBTA itself. And so it’s with great excitement that we’ve teamed up with National Geographic, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to officially make 2018 the Year of the Bird.

What exactly is Year of the Bird? Good question! Throughout the year, all of us partners, along with more than 150 other participating organizations, are celebrating birds across all of our channels—magazines, television, social media, and more. To make Year of the Bird a true success, though, we need you. Each month we’re asking people to take simple actions that will help birds, so make sure you get our monthly action newsletters by clicking the "count me in" link above. You can find out more ways to #birdyourworld over at the official Year of the Bird website, but you’ll also want to keep checking back here, at Audubon.org, to find new Year of the Bird-related stories every month. 

April's Featured Action: Speak Up for Migratory Birds 

(To see the previous month's featured Year of the Bird action and stories, scroll down.)

One-hundred years ago, our country's most important bird-protection law was signed. Since then, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has saved countless birds' lives from human threats. Back then, hunters and poachers were the biggest concerns. Now, industrial hazards such as oil pits and power lines endanger birds daily. Thanks to the MBTA, industries must work to prevent bird deaths caused by their activities and equipment. Despite all of the MBTA's success, though, the Trump Administration and some in Congress are trying to weaken the law by giving a free pass to industries. From nefarious language in bills to a damaging new interpretation of the Act, the MBTA is under attack. So, as migrants return to your yard this spring, don't just help them with bird seed and water. Speak up for birds by showing your support for a strong MBTA. To read more about the MBTA,  its history, and the dangers industrial traps pose to birds, check out this month's featured posts.  

March’s Featured Action: Grow Native Plants! 

Good news: Spring is almost here! Not only does that mean migrants will be arriving soon, but that means it's also time to get gardening. So for this month's Year of the Bird action, we're asking everyone to help birds by giving them the best backyard (or stoop, or balcony, or wherever) with native plants. How do you know if a plant is native? That’s what our handy native plants database is for. Just plug in your zip code and you’ll find native plants for your area—and the birds that love them. To learn more about how native plants—and you—can help birds, you can watch the video below and explore this month’s featured posts. And if you haven't joined the Year of the Bird yet, just hit "count me in" above. 
 

Photo: iStock

 February's Featured Action: Take Part in the Great Backyard Bird Count

For birders around the world, February means one thing: the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). Now in its 21st year, the GBBC (February 16-19) is a fun, easy activity that can take as little as 15 minutes and contributes to a global body of research. This month we’re asking everyone participating in the Year of the Bird to help science and birds by taking part in the GBBC. You can learn more about the GBBC and what you'll need to do in the first featured story below. Then, get prepped by reviewing our list of 15 common birds and finding the best bird guide for you. Also worth checking out are our guides to using eBird and Twitter, both of which are extremely handy tools for birders. And finally, in case you need a new pair of binoculars, take a spin through our Audubon binocular guide, which covers entry-level binocs to the premium goods. Until next month, happy counting! 



January’s Featured Action: Join the Cause! 

To kick off the Year of the Bird, we’re asking people to recommit themselves to helping birds and to protecting the places they need. So if you haven't signed up already, please do! And for inspiration, among this month's featured posts you'll find an introduction to the Year of the Bird by Audubon's President and CEO, David Yarnold; a piece on how birds bring people together; a history of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and its important role in conservation; and an essay on how the birding community can lift each other up, by Audubon board member J. Drew Lanham. In addition, learn more about how climate change threatens birds in Audubon's Birds and Climate Change Report, read everyone from famous directors to long-time Audubon staffers on why birds matter, and finally, just enjoy some striking images of birds from our 2017 Audubon Photography Awards.